Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Seeing the Prophet at Safeco Field

We've been anticipating having President and Sister Nelson and President Eyring to come to Safeco Field here in Seattle for about 3 months. When we moved to Moscow in August 2015, President Nelson (as president of the quorum of the twelve) had just visited in April of that year so we knew we weren't going to see an apostle for a long time. So this was very exciting for us!
I realized I've never seen a prophet outside of the Conference Center. And this was going to be twice as many people (nearly 50,000 were there). We rode on the bus to downtown, about an hour drive each way. There were about 4 different families from our ward at the same bus stop and a few other members getting picked up on the way there. The bus driver asked what the event was and the cute thing was he thought we were outsiders/tourists so he pointed out the Space Needle and Lake Union. He told us that if we were on his 8:35 bus back and we said 'event', then he would have a surprised for us. We ended up being the only ones from that first bus ride to catch his evening ride so we got the surprise which was a free bus ride. Super nice guy!
It was jammed packed by the time we got Safeco around 4:30. The lines were probably a quarter mile long if not more. It felt like Conference minus the protesters. And true to Seattle weather it was raining (but not as hard as it was once the devotional got started). Austin had fun seeing random people from his growing up days in Puyallup and a friend from BYU-Idaho. Marjorie was there but of course it's like finding Waldo in there but we did see a couple more people from the ward. One of the members of our ward got to be in the choir (they were amazing!)
Because the devotional started at 6, they let people bring food for dinner and for the kiddos. We were prepared with LOTS of milk for Dallin but he was so mesmerized with the whole thing that he didn't drink a whole ton. I think he was slightly overwhelmed though because he didn't really smile through the whole trip until we got home, comfortable in his own environment. When I changed him in the bathroom at Safeco, he had a really sad, I'm-scared-cry when he usually is so happy when I change him. Let's just say he was glad to be back but throwing off his schedule made it a rough night and rough Sunday which translates into a rough Monday. Always a great cycle, ha.
President and Sis Nelson and Pres Eyring all came out and it was neat to stand in respect for them. When they got to their seats, they kept waving. President Nelson took his seat and leaned over to President Eyring in amazement, "45,000?"
Presdient Eyring talked about the role of a prophet in being the voice of the Lord. He said when changes happen in the Church, it's our responsibility not to just take their word for it, but go to the Lord and seek personal revelation. It felt like he was giving a precursor for the message that President Nelson was going to share. And he said that usually what we need to hear in a meeting or talk is not anything the speaker says but what the Holy Ghost prompts to us.
Sis Nelson spoke about what it's like in their home these last 9 months since he's been called as the prophet. He would regularly get out of the bed during the middle of the night and write down revelations on a small yellow notepad that he keeps in his drawer by his bed. She is careful never to look at it. Sometimes she receives the impression to get out of bed during the night and she said 'her ancestors are very happy when this happens because that means she is doing family history work'. All the while, President Nelson is receiving revelation-sometimes she's gone for several hours. She's received her own personal revelation from the Lord that he is supposed to be the prophet. She actually received the same experience twice in a matter of days. This reminded me that sometimes the Lord needs to reaffirm again what we've received as another witness that this is true. I feel like this is her mission or calling-to spread how she knows that President Nelson is the prophet on earth today. 
President Nelson spoke about 5 things he's learned in his life these past 94 years. You can easily find these on lds.org so some things I took away from it:
-His experience on the raft when he wasn't holding onto the raft and he got catapult straight up. He said we are all on some rafting trip of mortality and the raft is the restored gospel and we need to cling on to it. Don't let go!
-He related an experience where someone asked him why he was so different. I loved his response: It's because I know the Book of Mormon is true. 
-Read it every day and you'll be immunized from the evils of the world.
-Reading it is the surest way to hold on to the raft.
-Temple covenants mean EVERYTHING to him. The honors of men just fade away when you really think about the true purpose of being on this earth. When he was in a near plane crash accident, all the honors and awards and degrees he got meant NOTHING to him. What was important was that he was sealed in the temple of God to his wife and their children were sealed to them. He said there is really only a small amount of what happens in life that is of eternal significance. Don't let even your occupation get in the way of those eternal things.
-The Lord likes effort-He blesses us for our best effort. 
-He uses the unlikely to accomplish His work.
-Put Him center in your life and He will perform miracles in your life.
-We're happiest when we're thinking of others than ourselves. 
-He wants you to have the family you desire. He will help you. 

My favorite part of the experience was when they were leaving we all stood and sang "We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet." Hard not to get emotional when doing that. That's when I felt the Spirit the most. 
Just reminiscing of when I got to meet President Nelson about 18 years ago. I remember the way he interacted with me made me feel like he was my Grandpa (which is funny to say because him and my Grandpa Smith were really good friends in graduate school at the University of Minnesota). 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Spending My Mind Juice

I know that we hear a lot about how many thoughts we think in a day (like 80,000 right?) and how not to 'waste' time, whatever 'wasting' means to you but I've thought about not just how I'm doing things day to day but what I choose to spend my mind juice on. We think we can multi-task but really our brains can focus on one thing at a time. So...what am I thinking the most about? And why do I spend so much mind juice on non-energizing thoughts?

For example, today for mutual activity, there is a back to school BBQ and the Mia Maids (who I am in charge over) are responsible to bring drinks. I sent a text to the Mia Maid president asking her to send a reminder text about where the girls should meet and to each bring a drink. And to let me know if they can't bring one so I can swing by the store and grab some drinks before tonight. 

The crazy thing is my mind has spent so much juice on this small little thing! "She didn't text me back...what if she doesn't send the reminder text?" "Should I text the girls instead?" "Should I just get more drinks just in case?" "What's the worst that could happen?" 

And I play around with scenario after scenario of what could happen if we show up with no drinks and how I would handle that-and what I would tell my brain in that situation. In my head, specifically my higher brain, the thinking brain,  knows it's no big deal but yet I spent so much on my mind juice on this that I don't concentrate on other outlets like being present with Dallin during the day or what am I going to make for dinner.

Now that's a small example but it's something that I've been thinking about today on my walk. I was ruminating over conversations I've had with a certain person and what my brain wants to tell me it's dangerous so I need to dwell on that again and again so IF (always a big if, right?) it happens again, then I will know how to handle it. 

I'm glad my brain watches out for things that are dangerous like bears and such so I don't die but it also wants to protect me from emotional danger so it will trick me into thinking that what that person said is a dangerous thing and I should be on the lookout for more of that when I'm around them. My brain is the best detective and it will find the evidence I am seeking. 

Here's other 'nonsense' things that have been taking up my mind juice for too long: how my hair flips to one side no matter how I straighten it, the extra flab and weight I've carried from this baby, going back and forth on if I really named my kid right, what I said during my testimony of self-reliance last Sunday, and something that someone said months ago. 

It's interesting that a lot of my mind wants to stay in the past or in the future. Again it's so easy for my brain to bring up past experiences and tells me that they were dangerous and that I should watch out for future danger but really I need to focus my mind on things that really matter, at least what matter to me at the moment. 

When I was on a walk today, I had a lot of chatter in my mind. I realized I've spent too long focusing on what other people say or do and now it's time for me to observe my own brain and not worry about their behavior. I wanted to redirect my brain to focusing on gratitude and being in the moment right then. 

Here's a couple that I thought of:
I'm so grateful I live near a state park with lots of beautiful trails. I'm so lucky.
I'm grateful I have a kind physical therapist that is helping me get my pelvic area stable again. 
I'm grateful for a healthy and thriving baby boy. 
I'm grateful for my loving husband. 

If I try and let go of the unnecessary things my mind 'thinks' are important, then I can be more productive on finding creative solutions to current things in my life like finding time to exercise or how to squeeze in laundry and dinner tonight. Or what I should write in blog posts or call up that sister or friend that I've been meaning to. Or clear my mind so I can enjoy my book I'm currently reading.

I love that we get to choose our thoughts and I'm going to try and be more intentional this week on how I spend my mind juice. 

Have you felt this trap before? 

What are some good things that you like to spend your mind juice on? Please share!

*I've learned these tools from Jody Moore at boldnewmom.com

Saturday, September 1, 2018

August 2018 Reading Round-Up

I've been finding more time to squeeze in reading when I put my phone on silent and keep it in another room and read while I nurse. I can pop out 200 pages in a day in a easy middle grade novel that way! Also, audiobooks have been very helpful. I'm in the middle of many books right now and a lot of them are long so it could take me a while before I finish. But here's what I read in August. 
The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough
My brother recommended this to me while I was at the reunion and I couldn't pass it up-it sounded so interesting. It definitely way. A piece of history that I didn't know about. Sometimes I felt like it dragged but if you like McCullough, you'll probably find this one interesting. 

Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson
I saw this on Everyday-reading.com for book clubs and this one intrigued me. I've entered a whole new realm of books-parenting books...I don't know if I should be happy or scared about that prospect. This one I liked because it turns your head upside down with regards to how we 'think' we should parent. This would be great for discussion because certainly there would be some heavy agrees and disagrees on each topic like teaching about race, praising children, and dealing with teenagers. 

The Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
This one was cute and I can't believe I've never read it before. The ending was really sweet. But I felt there was a lot of 'filler' pages that didn't propel the story along in my opinion. Maybe I should give 'Where the Red Fern Grows' a try. I know, I know. I can't believe I haven't read that one either. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
First, I can't believe Wilde is the same man that wrote this AND The Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband. They are so different. I guess that's a sign of a great writer. I gave it an extra half for the eeriness effect at the end of the book. Definitely lots to think about and discuss on the obsession of youth/beauty and how it can destroy you. But also very depressing just like I heard it would be. 

The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in its Proper Place by Andy Crouch
This is one of those books that I think could have been condensed to an article rather than a book. Really, a whole chapter on giving the idea of waiting until their 10 till you buy a TV? I came into this book knowing the harmful effects of the phone so it was redundant and I was pretty disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high or maybe I have a real issue and am in denial...especially since I read it on my kindle app, ha!

The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
I've heard Sarah Mackenzie rave about this book and how it gave her the drive and passion to be a "Read-Aloud Revivalist". To be honest, I would recommend her book over his any day! But I did really like his. You obviously don't have to read both (again, read hers!) but I like the subject so much that I blew through this in two days. He is more focused on how reading aloud helps kids academically and Mackenzie is all about how it connects you with your kids. I loved the examples he shared in the book. There were times where I felt he was slightly extreme but it was still a fascinating read. I love the wealth of books he shared at the end. Worth checking out just for that. 

Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand
This was picked as a middle grade novel but with what goes on in this book I would definitely give it to those 13 and up. It's about an 11 year old girl named Finley who goes and spends the summer with her grandparents who she's never met until now. Her parents need the summer to 'work things out.' Finley is dealing with a lot of emotions that she can't explain and her only way to work through them is to write about Everwood, her imaginary story about knights and queens and adventures in the woods. What goes through this novel is a lot of keeping secrets, being authentic, and how to deal with a range of emotions with yourself and others. I really enjoyed this novel for its realistic as well as fantastical elements to it. Again, it has some more darker elements to the story (not terrible) but just not something I would give an 11 year old to read unless I had read it myself. But I actually would think about using it as a book club read. Lots to discuss. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Doutre Family Reunion 2018

It's like we had a double hitter with reunions this summer-back to back in less than a week. This Doutre reunion was held in Albion, Idaho which is really close to where Austin's parents grew up. The whole facility was a former college dorm turned into housing accommodations for 50+ people. They have other buildings on the grounds but they are abandoned and only used as a haunted house on Halloween. I heard they make the most money that night then they do all year. Not sure if that's true but crazy anyway.
Before we headed up, the Monday and Tuesday before we hung out with the immediate Doutre siblings (not to mention seeing Cami and Sean and Peter the weekend before). It was lots of fun visiting and seeing the nieces and nephews play on the bouncy house that the grandparents got for them. On Tuesday I went to a Refit class with Dani and then we hung out with her pretty much the rest of the day, seeing Nic's office and just chatting it up. 
Austin holding Dallin for two hours while he got to play the wii haha
Wednesday afternoon we left for the reunion and got there in the evening in time for dinner. It was a lot of visiting and people playing nine square in the air. 

Dallin with cousin Amy
Thursday morning some of us went to Lake Cleveland and others went to the City of Rocks. Really pretty area. There were also cows roaming the streets. #idaho 
The afternoon was relaxing and people playing in the pool or working on the service project of tying quilts. 
 Lake Cleveland
That night, Dad Doutre had put together a really fun family history activity that incorporated something about members of the ancestors like one was a bookkeeper so there was a station where you had to count money in a certain amount of time. Plus there were stories to go with each one of these. I felt I learn a lot more about their ancestors this time around and it makes you appreciate your heritage! 

Friday was neat because we got to visit the grave site of Austin's grandparents and then look at their farm that his Dad grew up in. Austin was just a young kid when his grandparents passed away but we were in the car with his parents and his dad would talk about memories he remembered Austin doing around the outside of the house when he was young. Let me just say that I was not made for the farm life and have much respect for those that do that kind of work. I appreciated more this time around. 
 The house on the farm
 I love his face but he looks over and says 'that's where I get the name Roger' (it's his middle name)
 This was their first home that they lived in
 Grandpa Harold and Grandma Edith
 Cute Edie
Again that afternoon was filled with pool and naps and all that jazz. That night we took family pictures and then played games and ate yummy food. It was a great reunion! Love being with the Doutre clan. 
Elephant ears. This kid was a champ the whole trip! I love this guy. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Lewis Family Reunion 2018

My due date was June 24th but I was so hoping that baby would come early so I could attend our family reunions this summer. I just didn't want have a 4 week old baby traveling for two weeks but apparently an almost 6 week old was a little better, ha. I was still pretty nervous about him getting sick and running a fever and all but I received a blessing before we left and I felt pretty good about things. I didn't really worry too much about it on the trip than I thought I would so that was comforting.

On Saturday, July 28th, we got a Lyft driver to take us to the airport bright and early. This was our first time using these car ride services and I'm a fan. It was especially fun to have a Ukrainian man be the one to give us a ride so Austin and him had a great time chatting it up about ALL the Russian food there is.

We arrived in Utah and hung out with Grandma and Grandpa Doutre before we headed to West Jordan for Jasmin Gimenez's wedding reception. It was so fun to see Mom and Dad, the Johns, Crismon and Danielle, Janae, and so many other cousins and aunts and uncles.

Monday we headed to Paradise Utah for the Lewis reunion! 
We mingled and had dinner and then Dallin's baby blessing. I'm so glad we could do the blessing there. I loved having so many family members in attendance. And I appreciate people taking pictures for me. :)
That night we did FRED talks. Alice-Anne came up with the idea. It stands for Family, Religion, Education, Development. It's like TED talks. She wanted us to share what things we've learned or are passionate about. Gary V did his on crucial conversations and Mom did hers on energy medicine. We all did a routine exercise with her.

Tuesday morning Grandma did scripture study. It involved throwing this yarn and saying what we love about that person. It all connected and made a strong link between all of us.
Then we did Relative Race done by Kenna! She did an amazing job putting this all together. Like Spencer said, "just so you know, Kenna has been working really hard on this!" It was so cute. It was based off of BYUtv show Relative Race. Each sibling had an ancestor line that they were asked to find a story from one of those ancestors. 
How the game worked was Kenna had clues that would lead them to another clue to do an activity at one of the stations. I loved that one of the clues was to call Meredith and sing a song to her. And then one of her kids got to give us the next clue. So cute! We miss you Williams' family! Then afterward each activity we read the ancestors story. There were a lot of stories I was not familiar with and some that it was good to revisit. I did Julia Hills Johnson and I really loved her conversion story. She was a devout Presbyterian and the Bible was read daily at the kitchen table. Her two oldest boys (Joel and David) and Joel's wife Annie got interested in the Church. Julia was very concerned that they were following a delusional religion and wrote them in a letter and told them so. 

To combat what they were learning, she set up a study group with several of her older children still at home and some other faith members (possibly friends) and, to me, it seemed like a mini book club. The book they read and discussed was The Book of Mormon. She wanted to compare and contrast it to the Bible. The more she read it, the more she was convinced that it was true. 

After Relative Race and lunch, lots of the aunts and uncles and older cousins did the Wind Caves hike in Logan. It looked like it was hot and dirty. The rest of us lounged in the AC and chatted or the younger kids played outside or in the mini pool.
After dinner, we had a family trivia and then it was game night, outdoors and indoors. 
The second day was cousin group activities and then Family Olympics! Crismon and Danielle do a great job of this every time. I liked how they implemented different types of games and not just sport type games. After lunch the adults had a council meeting, then almost everyone went swimming at the Logan Aquatic Center. I heard it was so much fun. (Can you tell I heard a lot about these things instead of participating? That's what happens when you run on less than 2 hours a sleep a night and are a nursing mom).
Emily teaching how to take good pictures. I'm amazed what she learns on her own and her creativeness to everything she does. She did an amazing video of the reunion that I can't stop watching. 
After dinner and after family pictures (always comical in itself) was the talent show-that was a hit! The talents ranged from magic tricks, violin and singing solos, Austin and Spencer reciting 37 digits of pi, a Jane Austen accent and quote from Pride and Prejudice, an original story given, dances performed, and Jackson stumping us all on his coding skills. It was so fun to watch!
The next morning we cleaned up and said goodbye's. Sure miss them all! Glad we live in close distance to half of them and glad Austin and I got to see Mom and Dad and Emily and the Johns a few more times before they headed home.
The doubles! Dallin, Gary, Vivienne, Julia, and Crismon